Sunday, August 26, 2007

Thank you...

Last week, a boy from the town where I work was killed in Iraq. The words look so stark as I type them. They look, I guess, the way it felt when I read it in the paper. I didn't know him, don't know his family; the grief I feel at his loss is only a pinprick compared to what those who love him feel. And yet...

Signs of support and gratitude showed up in front of churches and stores and homes this, the flag at our office flies at half staff, other flags--usually out for the 4th of July and Memorial Day--have come out now. It makes me think of the weeks following 9/11, when we all flew them not only as an "in your face" gesture but also because our grief was unspeakable. Symbolically, we dried our tears with the flag. We were all changed in that week.

And now we are changed again, those of us who stood alongside the street to help escort a dead boy to his final resting place. Veterans stood straight and saluted as the hearse drove slowly past. The procession of vehicles seemed to go on forever. It included at least 100 motorcycles that rode in a pack, their drivers staring straight ahead.

We cried as we stood in silent support. The mail carrier across the street, those among us who are mothers and know the worst thing possible has happened to one of us, the fathers who know it, too, even the children who waved tribute flags as the dark, sad cars passed.

There is nothing I can do, nothing I can say here, that hasn't been done and said before. So I will only say Thank You to all who serve, and hope that those families who lose their loved ones will find their grief lessened by the knowledge that we all share it.

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